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James Owen hoping spring ground can see Burdett Road 'run to the best of his ability.'

3 minute read

James Owen has pinned his hopes on spring ground and a truer end-to-end gallop as Burdett Road attempts to turn the tables with 'freakish' Sir Gino.

Racecourse : Cheltenham.
Racecourse : Cheltenham. Picture: (Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

An impressive winner of his first two outings over hurdles, Burdett Road headed into his clash with Sir Gino sitting top of the Triumph Hurdle market, but the Gredley-owned juvenile hurdler soon found himself superseded at the head of the betting by the Nicky Henderson-trained runner following a performance that James Owen could only describe as 'freakish.'

"We bumped into a very good horse last time at Cheltenham in Sir Gino, but the good thing we can take out of that is we jumped well," said Owen.

"The race got spread out in the middle part of the contest and we just got keen as we came through horses without cover."

"I've been really pleased with him since Cheltenham. He had an easy week after that but since then he's been training great and has schooled very well. His work has been good, and he's really come in his coat."

Whilst extremely realistic about the task his star hurdler faces to reduce a ten-length deficit with his conqueror Sir Gino in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham next month, Owen, who is certain his charge underperformed last-time-out, is expecting the Royal Ascot winner to put up a much-improved display on 'spring' ground.

"We did underperform a little bit that day, they were just too close to us in behind," said the Hamilton Road-based handler.

"The ground was tacky and although he does go through it fine, for us to beat Sir Gino which we're going to struggle to do after that freakish performance, but on better spring dry ground hopefully we'll get a truer end-to-end gallop and that can only help us. It might help Sir Gino more, but it will certainly help Burdett Road run to the best of his ability."

Although Sir Gino is as short as 8/13 for the Grade 1 juvenile contest at Prestbury Park next month, James Owen is expecting a bold bid from his reopposing son of Muhaarar, who is a general 12/1 chance to claim the opening race on Gold Cup Friday.

Owen said: "Training-wise at home I couldn't be happier with him. He's in good order and we're all excited and we've got a very good each-way chance in the Triumph. The pressure is off a little bit now, we were favourite before, but I think we've got a great each-way chance and if we finished placed, I'd be over the moon."

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